What is create-react-native-app

Issue #279

Original post https://medium.com/fantageek/what-is-create-react-native-app-9f3bc5a6c2a3

As someone who comes to React Native from iOS and Android background, I like React and Javascript as much as I like Swift and Kotlin. React Native is a cool concept, but things that sound good in theory may not work well in practice.

Another layer of abstraction

Up until now, I still don’t get why big companies choose React Native over native ones, as in the end what we do is to deliver good experience to the end user, not the easy development for developers. I have seen companies saying goodbye to React Native and people saying that React Native is just React philosophy learn once, write anywhere, that they choose React Native mainly for the React style, not for cross platform development. But the fact can’t be denied that people choose React Native mostly for cross platform development. Write once, deploy many places is so compelling. We still of course need to tweak a bit for each platform, but most of the code is reuse.

I have to confess that I myself spend less time developing than digging into compiling and bundling issues. Nothing comes for free. To be successful with React Native, not only we need strong understanding on both iOS and Android, but also ready to step into solving issues. We can’t just open issues, pray and wait and hope someone solves it. We can’t just use other dependencies blindly and call it a day. A trivial bug can be super hard to fix in React Native, and our projects can’t wait. Big companies have, of course, enough resource to solve issues, but for small teams, React Native is a trade off decision to consider.

A wrapper for a wrapper

Enough about that. Let’s go to official React Native getting started guide. It recommend create-react-native-app. As someone who made electron.js apps and used create-react-app, I choose create-react-native-app right away, as I think it is the equivalent in terms of creating React Native apps. I know there is react-native init and though that it must have some problems, otherwise people don’t introduce create-react-native-app.

After playing with create-react-native-app and eject, and after that read carefully through its caveats, I know it’s time to use just react-native init . In the end I just need a quick way to bootstrap React Native app with enough tooling (Babel, JSX, Hot reloading), however create-react-native-app is just a limited experience in Expo with opinionated services like Expo push notification docs.expo.io/versions/latest/guides/push-notifications.html and connectivity to Google Cloud Platform and AWS. I know every thing has its use case, but in this case it’s not the tool for me. Dependencies are the root of all evils, and React Native already has a lot, I don’t want more unnecessary things.

The concept of Expo is actually nice, in that it allows newbie to step into React Native fast with recommended tooling already set up, and the ability to reject later. It also useful in sharing Snack to help reproduce issues. But the name of the repo create-react-native-app is a bit misleading.

Maybe it’s just me, or …